The James Beard Awards, America’s prestigious award-giving body, which recognizes the top people of the F&B industry just awarded four Filipinos for its 2023 nominations.
Food content creator and restaurateur Erwan Huesaff won the Social Media Account category in the James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Awards division for his social media account, @erwan. The celebrity chef and FEATR head honcho attended the June 3 ceremony where he also accepted his award. “Tons of people have said Filipino food is the next big thing, and I’m obsessed with trying to figure out how to make it just a big thing.” Erwan expressed in his acceptance speech.
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For the Restaurant and Chef Awards, three Filipino chefs based in the US captured the award during a separate event last June 5. Tim Flores together with his Korean-born wife Genie Koh of Filipino restaurant, Kasama, won the Best Chef: Great Lakes Category. It is also the first Filipino restaurant that earned a coveted Michelin Star in 2022.
Margarita Lorenzana-Manzke of LA-based restaurant, République won one of the biggest awards of the night—Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker award. Prior to winning, Manzke had been nominated eight times in same category. Margarita and her husband, Chef Walter Manzke, are also founding partners of the Wildflour Bakery, which are owned and operated by her sister, Anna Lorenzana-Ocampo.
The Quarry, a fine-dining restaurant owned by Filipina chef Marilou “Lulu” Ranta in Monson, Maine garnered the Outstanding Hospitality category, presented by American Airlines. This category in particular highlights an F&B establishment that fosters a sense of hospitality among its customers and staff, that serves as a beacon for the community, and demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations while contributing positively to its broader community.” Opened in 2018, The Quarry became a well-loved restaurant serving “fun” dining (a play on fine-dining) in its community.
On a side note, two other Filipino chefs were also got nominated for 2023. Chef Vince Bugtong of Abacá got nominated alongside Manke for the Pastry Chef or Baker award while Aaron Verzosa of Archipelago got a nod for Best Chef in the Northwest and the Pacific.
Regarded as the “Oscars of the culinary world,” the James Beard Awards is founded by the James Beard Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability.